The Laundry Room Refresh

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DIY pro David Sheinkopf gives this condo’s washed-out laundry room a modern facelift in this Laundry Room Refresh Makeover by adding attractive and ample storage.

How do you make a small space work?

My clients for this project were wonderful people with a few dogs and not a lot of space. Their condo didn’t have ample storage and their laundry room was not being utilized to its fullest potential.

Plus, it wasn’t as attractive as they wanted. My goal was to streamline their space. The rest of the condo had a modern look, so I wanted to use pieces that had the same flow and feel as the rest of the house.

The laundry room had decent bones to work with, but it was in need of some organization and storage as well as some beautifying. Here’s what I accomplished with items from big box stores and some know-how.

David Sheinkopf Laundry Room Refresh Before

David Sheinkopf Laundry Room Refresh After

1. Organization & Storage Solutions

The first task was finding items that were large enough to maximize the space to the left of the laundry machines, but not so large they became an obstacle when doing laundry. They’d been using the top of the washer and dryer to store the many items they used every week during the laundering process.

I thought of using a behind-the-door item, but I needed something that was solid enough to hold heavier items like laundry detergent and softener. I had never used shelf standards before and thought it was time to give them a chance.

While I liked the flexibility shelving systems gave, every piece had to be purchased as a separate item, so I had to make sure each part was necessary. I chose a rack style unit for holding all of the laundry supplies.

Using drywall anchors, I attached the frame to the wall. The storage containers were adjustable and movable without tools, so they were perfect for this application.

2. Open Shelving

My clients live by the water and wanted a place to put towels they could grab quickly on their way outside. I wanted to give them storage that could fit between the machines and the cabinets.

The tricky part: I didn’t want it to overhang the cabinets, so I opted for open shelving. I found shelves that adjusted in height, were removable and were exactly 12 inches deep (like the cabinets). Eureka!

Related: Hiring a Contractor

Using drywall anchors I attached the standards to the wall snugly and set the first shelf as low as I could go without interfering with the hoses. To stay symmetrical, I placed the next shelf at a height where there was an equal amount of space between them.

3. Hamper Sorting

Next, I tackled the area where the hamper stood by the water heater. I wanted to give them a different kind of hamper in which they could sort their clothes by colors, whites, dry clean items and so on.

In my mind I saw a wall-mounted unit, but I had limited side-to-side space to work with so opted for a unit that sat on the floor. It was from the same store I bought the organizer from, so the color was an exact match. It had deep mesh drawers and could be used to sort laundry or to store clean items. Either way, a win-win.

Using a rubber mallet, I put the unit together in a matter of minutes and was on to the next task.

Related: Remodeling Guide

4. Water Heater

I wanted to hide the unsightly box and hoses of the water heater but in a way that still gave access to the space below. Even though the tankless water heater didn’t give off much heat and was vented, I didn’t want to fully enclose it.

Since a cabinet was out of the question in the space, I constructed a drapery system off of the ceiling. This helped with the look and didn’t restrict the airflow; plus, they could put the hamper they already owned behind the curtain if they wanted.

I found two panels with short rods that gave a nice gather since the area was small and had space off of the floor. I purchased four, three-inch long wall hooks and attached them snugly to the ceiling with drywall. This left enough space for the heater and room for the stand-alone sorter. Then, I placed the curtain rods in place and hung the curtains to finish the look.

5. Utility Items

I needed to find a place to put items that were regularly needed but were not left out in the open. The area behind the door was my only shot.

I didn’t want to block access to the electrical panel, but I wanted to use the space. So, I found a great broom and mop organizer that had hooks and could be attached to the door with screws.

I also had seen a bunch of random items that would be better hidden, so I added a few canvas baskets that could fit on top of the cabinets. These helped tidy up the area and organize their belongings.

6. Artwork

The last thing I wanted to do was find some artwork to make the laundry room beautiful. I decided to shop within the house and found a perfect piece they’d purchased but hadn’t figured out where to hang. It worked perfectly in the laundry room!

Total amount spent on this laundry room challenge: $500.

 

David Sheinkopf's Laundry Room Remodel After

Corey Decker – Tenacity

 

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In my mind there are two types of people.  There are ones that walk into a run-down shack and tremble at the thought of such an undertaking. Then there are others that are giddy at that shack’s potential. (Granted there are varying degrees of disgust and elation.) Regardless, I tend to be at the high end of the latter. Don’t get me wrong–I am in no way saying I am an unrealistic optimist. In all actuality my closest friends would probably tell you I can be charmingly cynical. However, the pattern I have noticed throughout my life is this. . .I love a challenge, I am oddly competitive, and I don’t like to fail.

Sure, the final drafts of my posts are clear, concise, and instructive, but you don’t see the brain-wracking, space- staring, sleep-losing behind the scene’s footage. There are days that my husband will come and check on me in my shop.  I will be sitting atop my workbench, staring blankly at my task. . . . A few hours later, he will return and I will be sitting in the same spot, staring blankly at the same piece of furniture. I could slap a coat of paint on it (and let it dry) in the same amount of time and call it “good.” But in the time I work through the entire project in my mind, I am trying to take it one step further.

Those behind-the-scenes hours, days, sometimes weeks, really drive me. It’s all about the challenge!

Once I have a clear kinda-sort-of-ish plan, I dive in unabashed and head first. Just stand back and hand me a hammer, because it’s about to get real, and sawdust is gonna fly!

I am not going to lie–there are many, many, many times it would be easiest to scrap a project and move on, but there is something inside of me that just can’t! I hate to fail. I was once asked to share some of my biggest “project fails” in an interview. After thinking about it, I realized I didn’t have any projects that stood out to me as a “fail.” Believe me, I am not a narcissist, and I am absolutely capable of failing. But I have found that, when I realize an idea isn’t panning out and “failing,” I correct my course. I go back to the drawing board and change my execution. Honestly, some of my favorite projects turn out entirely different from what my original plan was, and that is okay!

So what empowers me? Honestly, my stubborn tenacity. In the famous words of Barney Stinson, “Challenge accepted!”

Shannon Nelson from An Inspired Nest – Finding Your Passion

 

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Growing up, I spent my Friday nights at the auction house with my mom, hunting for treasures to decorate our home. Wide-eyed, I’d sit still as a statue and try to translate the “foreign language” the auctioneer was rattling off and my mom magically understood. It was fascinating. At the time, I couldn’t see the lessons she was instilling in me. . .cult seasons of my life.

In 2009, my husband and I were both laid off on the same day. We had a new baby and suddenly found ourselves losing sleep over things we’d never imagined we’d have to worry about. As everything seemed to crumble around us, my life, and how I viewed what mattered most, literally changed before my eyes. And as a result, I found my passion and talent for reimagining forgotten items and transforming them into home decor.

You’ll rarely find me at a retail store. Rather, my Saturdays are spent wandering through garage sales, barn sales, and thrift stores. I adore loved pieces and naturally gravitate towards those that are cracked, rusty, broken, and chipped—all of which tell a story. My creativity soars when I embrace the beauty in the flaws of things and celebrate them rather than covering them up.

I speak through my home decor. It is my voice and a true reflection of who I am. I suppose you could say it’s like “Wearing your heart on your sleeve.” My decor style is not perfect. In fact, I lovingly refer to it as perfectly imperfect.

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With open arms, I welcome pieces into my home with history and traces of love written all over them. I enjoy weaving old and new seamlessly together to create a look and feel that are unique and unexpected.

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My style is collected and authentic with a touch of sentiment and a solid base of love, family, and dreams.

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I delight in looking at a piece and instantly being taken back to a moment in time that brings a smile to my face and happiness to my heart.

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What empowers me? I embrace my unique perspective and celebrate what sets me apart rather than comparing myself to others. I follow MY arrow, dream MY dreams, and work hard to turn those dreams into MY reality. I am proud of who I am and embrace all the qualities that make me stand out amongst a crowd. I like being different and creating my own path instead of following the crowd. To me, that is empowerment.

To learn more about Shannon, please visit her Instagram account @aninspirednest.

@finishingtouchdecorbyjenny – Why Wait For Your Dreams

 

 

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What do you do when David Sheinkopf, one of your favorite hosts and carpenter on HGTV, comes knocking via IG to share your thoughts on design inspiration for his Women With Power blog series? Yell, jump up and down, tell your family and friends, panic? Why, yes, all of the above!

Design, or redesign, has always been a part of my life. As a child, I rearranged my bedroom furniture countless times. When I realized my two sets of closets weren’t being fully used, I made my Dad remove one set of closet doors and turned the space into a built-in desk area and, later, a built-in bed. I always say if HGTV had been on during the years I was growing up, my career path would have been very well established. But HGTV wasn’t, and I took a few twists and turns and earned a degree or two in other disciplines–but when my first love of decorating and design started calling me back, I answered!

Power to me is doing what you love to do even when others don’t see your vision or believe it’s practical. Power is taking a chance on yourself, knowing you may fly or fail but that you’ll be glad that you tried either way.

Our home is small, not tiny; thanks to HGTV, I now know the difference. I have a rule of thumb with items I bring in our home: (a) I must love the piece, and (b) the piece must be dual purpose or be able to go into more than one room.

One design element that I try and incorporate into both my home and those of clients alike is some sort of woodwork. Whether crown molding, board-and-batten, bead-board, or shiplap, I absolutely love how using one or more of these features just transforms a space for very little money. If you’re afraid of a whole room of shiplap or board and batten, I say just go for one wall, and you’ll be just as pleased!

Power is using what you have to the best of your ability and getting results you never dreamed possible.

Sometimes we wait till we have enough money for a remodel, or for our dream home to get its dream kitchen. I’ve been there. I was waiting for all the stars to align to have my dream kitchen. The whole kitchen, down to the last awesome detail, including my farmhouse sink, was done–in my mind. Fellow decorators and dreamers know exactly what I’m talking about. But there was always something that preventing the dream project from beginning. You know what I did? I used what we had. The only other things I needed were paint, a brush, and some faux brick and bead-board–a project costing only a few hundred dollars compared to tens of thousands. And you know what? We love it–from dark and dreary to light and bright!

Don’t let money, people’s opinions, or self-doubt stop you from going for your dreams. . .now, that’s POWER.

Sam Raimondi – Thinking Positively

 

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At some point in life, someone will ask you a question that will make you stop and think for a lot longer than you were expecting to. That’s how I felt when David asked me to write an article about what empowers me for his “Women With Power” blogging series (which, by the way, I’m super stoked to be part of).

When I think about the things that make my creative brain tick, there are lots of relevant thoughts that arise. First, I think about my habits. For instance, when I walk into a store and see something I like, my initial thought is always, “I can totally make this myself”. Then I think about the ability I have to see the potential in everything. If I find a chair or a pallet  on the side of the road, I’m the first person to pull over, try to shove it in the back of my Fiat 500, and take it home to give it new meaning. Another thing that comes to mind is the satisfaction I get from creating something with my own two hands. There are few feelings in the world like the one you get from staring at a project you made with some tools and your imagination.

 

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So, in all of this, and in pulling the pieces of my scattered brain together, I realized I am empowered by one common goal: thinking positively. Now, as a yoga teacher and a psychologist, it’s often my goal to tell people to shift their mindset and think about the positives. So, yes, I realize how annoying is sounds to hear a free-spirited yoga instructor say, “positivity empowers me”. But, let me explain!

In any situation in which I am feeling inspired, it is because I am telling myself that “I can do it”. When I look at something in the store that I like, the idea of me making it stems from the fact that I think the object is beautiful and that I harbor the skills it requires to try to replicate those results. When I find a piece of furniture on the side of the road that I so happen to stop and pick up, it’s because I see it’s potential and I want to save it from the trash. The same thing goes for the times when I look at the things I’ve built with my own two hands. I use that positive energy, the good feeling I get from reminding myself “I built that” to create other things.

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In all of this, there is obviously a lesson that I’m going to pass on to you. That lesson is to see the positives in all of life’s situations. When you begin to change your thinking from, “this sucks” to, “this could seriously rock” you start to open your mind to possibilities that were never there before. Try this – next time you see something that makes you stop and look in the window of an antique shop, or on the curb waiting for the trash collector, think of two things you could do with your own two hands that could make that item come to life in a new way. When you start seeing the potential in your environment, you start to also realize the potential in yourself.

Shannon Ingle – Transformation

 

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Years ago a friend told me, “Shannon, you can see the beauty in ANYTHING!” I don’t know if she meant it as a compliment at the time but I sure took it as one! I guess I was gifted with the ability to look past the “ugly” in everything. When I find an unwanted item I don’t see what is broken or worn, I instantly get an image of what it COULD be! That mental image is what keeps me going during the tough projects. Watching the item transform in front of me is exciting and pushes me to finish.

I love to work on pieces that “show” they have been loved. The more dented and scratched the better! Each one of those marks represent a part of its’ own story. I am always careful not to erase all that history. My hope is once I bring a piece of furniture back to life I’m just giving it a few more chapters to share with someone else.

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I am completely self taught as far as furniture repair and refinishing. It all started back in my days as a single mom. I wasn’t financially able to buy a lot of new things so I fixed what I had and made what I didn’t have. Although at the time it was frustrating I am beyond grateful for the experience now. I honestly think our best lessons are learned from the mistakes we make and I sure made some! I still doubt myself sometimes and will always be my own worst critic. I guess that’s just a part of my creative process some of us have to go through.

When I’m not working on furniture for my clients I am busy creating one of a kind decor pieces. I believe our homes should have some personality. Try to make it interesting with that one piece that will have people asking questions! Whether it’s an old army cot coffee table or a headboard made from hundreds of birch tree slices, you should always have fun when you decorate your space!

I am definitely my happy place right now. It took a few giant leaps of faith to get here and to say I was scared would be the understatement of the century! I couldn’t imagine anyone trusting me with their furniture and family heirlooms…….but here I am. The smiles on my clients faces let me know I am exactly where I should be. They always thank me but really I should be thanking them for allowing me to do what I love.

 

#Choices

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As a woodworker for many years, I have had to make choices in materials and the direction I wanted to go with a project. As you may have noticed, I have an affinity for reclaimed woods. Now, that’s something I do for reasons of sustainability as well as for the look of the final outcome. I have never been able to mimic what Mother Nature has done, so I don’t try. What I can tell you is this: Using reclaimed materials, and creating furniture with it, add a lot of time to my projects.

Furniture is complex. Using sheet goods (veneer ply) does have its advantages. Cost is a major factor when bidding a job. If you make boxes with ply, they’re simple to construct, and the material is readily available. It is also nice and flat and takes finish extremely well. If you build boxes out of solid material (reclaimed or not), the material is trickier to mill, takes more time to glue up, and imposes a learning curve in order to produce a finished product that will please your client. Most of us use solid wood for the doors, so that is a mute point.

Reclaimed wood is a beast all to own when you’re milling it. It has taken me as much as three times the amount of wood I need because there’s so much waste. Depending on the project, I have to gain at least two straight edges to work with, for gluing up and so on. People naturally think that, when they work with such material, they’ll have an easier time of it. In my career as a furniture maker, moreover, I have gone in the direction of a more finished-off look. As a result, while I appreciate the more rustic ways of building, but it’s become harder for me to deal with the inaccuracies that rustic allows.

I have also found that you can mix these mediums to bring your cost to an acceptable level yet not compromise the final outcome. If you use veneer ply for the carcasses and reclaimed for the doors, you can achieve the look that you’re after with little or no sacrifice. I feel that there’s an added benefit to doing so—at least veneer ply squeezes everything out of the tree that has given itself for a cause that will be around for a long time to come.

We will build as long as there are materials to work with. What you choose for yourself or your clients is a choice. I hope you can maintain the integrity of the build you seek, and can look upon the smiling faces of the clients that you work with. Happy building!


 

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# Letting Go


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As a creator in different media, I have had to learn to let go. As builders, designers, and makers of every kind, we put everything we have into a project or piece. I include actors and writers in this group, since what they do also has to be put down in some way—which brings me to my point. The things you make become extensions of yourself. You are giving away something that contains your energy; thus, a part of you is left behind when that furniture is done, that piece shipped, that script written. Sooner or later, the directors yells, “Cut!” Until then, the process is so busy, your mind so consumed by the finished product, the small details

When I start a project, my mind is swimming. The project engages different parts of my brain at the same time. I am working on the creative aspects but also the budget constraints, gradually shaping these parts into a unified whole. It is calm chaos, but essential for the end result I crave. I want the image I saw in my mind’s eye to stand before me in all its embodied glory, every detail exactly how I wanted it.

But that isn’t always the case. Things happen; situations arise. Some are out of our control, others artefacts of the process. For many years, I pulled my hair out when things happened. I freaked out if a certain veneer wasn’t available or, god forbid, I made a mistake—meant to cut the material at 16 ¾, but it was a hair under and wouldn’t be glueless tight and would leave a micron gap. . . and so on, and so on.

I had to learn to let go. It had nothing to do with my work ethic or pleasing the client. I was learning to do the best job possible considering every aspect of the circumstances involved and moving on. As creators, we want perfection. And I learned that perfection for us is usually an entirely different animal than it is for our clients. We see things that most don’t. If I pointed one of these things out, would others see it? Maybe, but they might conclude I was a lunatic perfectionist who drives an old truck and fits the bill. They are happy to have my work in their home and pay my bill without question, and that’s enough.

There has to come a point in any project when it’s finished, when the symphony has ended and the band goes home, the table is placed, the tile has set. I can think of a hundred images that would take you right there, but you understand, because you are one of us. You always wish there was something you could have done better or differently; it’s human nature. But there comes a time when the next project in the cue is ready to begin, and the whole process starts again.

So do yourself a favor: Don’t let the anxiety of the job run your life. Remember always that you have earned that phone call, or part, or job. They want you and everything that comes with it. All your imperfections make you perfect. The very things that drive you nuts about you are the reason they come back, time and time again.

A wrap-up on #reclaimed

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We’ve been talking about reclaimed lumber recently, and I enjoyed reading the thoughts of some very talented creators:John MaleckiDylan Eastman, and the ever-evolving Diy Huntress, Sam Raimondi. They shared their insightful views and ideas, and now I would like to give mine. To me it is a simple thing: We reclaim so that we do not destroy. It is a sustainability issue, and as a woodworker, I have grown to understand the impact we can make from not using fresh-growth trees. I also have discovered the intense beauty in the ability to change one object into something completely different.

Let’s say a house is built in the early 1900s, or even later. That wood is already part of a bigger picture. It is the glue that binds, the root and the skeleton. It is configured in such a way that the builder’s vision comes together, and the drawings he drafted literally stand in front of him. The building is finished, and a family moves in. Over time an addition is built to accommodate the ever-growing family and their bakery business. The children grow, the family moves, and another family buys the house. This continues for decades. But as the years move on, maybe the neighborhood changes? People don’t care for houses the way they once did, and the houses on the block go into disrepair. They are still owned, by landlords who don’t seem interested in really fixing what needs to be fixed but place Band-Aids on problems, hoping they will all just go away.

You understand my point. We now have hundreds of houses on thousands of blocks that are facing the same demise. The love that was once apparent in these structures has vanished. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s change. These neighborhoods have been bought in bulk by developers looking to gentrify in a big way. And the story continues… Those boards and floors and roof rafters that made up the skeleton are now released. They are taken down and stacked; some are taken by that developer himself. But the rest are bought or traded and sourced out by people like you and me. These seasoned, beautiful pieces of history are given a new life. What was once part of something bigger is now standing on its own, as a table or chair, a new floor or a reclaimed bookcase.

This is what I love—when something that was becomes something else. It continues its history and grows in a way that cannot be described as anything other than magical. We don’t change the atoms, but we do restructure them in our own way to create new life, so that they can continue their journey.